Into the Fray

At The Cascade Room, Jean-Marc Dykes puts his signature twist on the cocktail menu

Jean-Marc Dykes behind the bar at The Cascade Room. Dan Toulgoet photo.

For some, inspiration comes by way of music, meditation or motivational speeches.

Jean-Marc Dykes’ unexpected light-bulb moment came in 2015, in the bowels of a tall ship while mixing drinks for friends.

That’s where the Manila Fray was born and it will be Dykes’ signature contribution to The Cascade Room’s revamped cocktail menu launching in April.

Inspiration for the name comes from the abaca plant, a species of banana grown in the Phillipines, the fibres of which were once harvested to make the ropes used on tall ships. In the glass, the Manila Fray includes Aperol, Green Chartreuse, freshly squeezed lemon juice and Maraschino liqueur.

“It’s a nice refreshing drink,” Dykes says. “I was going for something that would appeal to the nerdy side of bartending, but also be approachable for customers.”

His education in the cocktail world began in 2010, when he was in his early 20s and wanted a career that was universally in demand and would allow him to travel.

“I’ve made drinks for people in India where we couldn’t understand each other at all, but they were laughing and smiling, so I knew I was doing something right.”

His tenure at the Main Street institution began in the fall of 2016, and he’s also been busy working on a coffee table book to coincide with Cascade Room’s tenth anniversary later this year. The book will profile the bartenders who have worked the wood, the drinks they’ve invented, and the bar’s place in the greater Main Street community.

“It’s your ideal neighbourhood pub that can still nail a really great cocktail, and be comfortable for groups of friends and date nights alike.”

The Cascade Room, 2616 Main Street, 604-709-8650

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